Fleetwood Town’s International Football Academy (FTIFA) recently hosted their Australian counterparts, JBFC, with 47 players and parents coming over for an unforgettable experience at Poolfoot Farm.
The idea of the mass visit started when coaches Mick Horsfall and Danny Hastings flew to the other side of the world to provide an International Academy Talent ID Clinic, which helped identify promising young players and allowed the team to invite them to the UK for a special two-week programme of training and games.
When the players arrived in the UK, the 27 players – aged between 14-and-17-years-old – were introduced to the players on the Professional Training programme before joining them in their sessions delivered by Fleetwood Town coaches. This was all in preparation for future fixtures that would test the levels of each individual.
Mick Horsfall, FTIFA Program Manager, said: “The relationship we formed in Australia was huge for the players coming across; we built on this and created a brilliant two-weeks of games and training and experiences for the boys!
“They got to play against Academy level players, our Elite Football Education programme at Rossall, and the best schoolboys in their age group from the partner school.”
Danny Hastings, Head of Coaching at FTIFA, was impressed with the levels of the performances and added: “Having lived and coached in Australia, I know there is huge talent out there. The JBFC group pushed the bar even higher as many of the players are close to the levels required to break into a UK Academy.
“With our continued support in the UK and through JBFC in Sydney, I can envisage some of them players having a huge impact in the next few years!”
The trip wasn’t all about the experiences on the pitch, the experiences off the pitch were also important to the success of the trip for the players. The group visited the major professional clubs in the area, attended live matches, and signed up for stadium tours to get an insight into the history and magnitude of football in the UK.
One of the highlights for the group was their invitation to be guests of honour at Town league clash against Barnsley at the start of the month. The group were given a private tour of the dressing room and back-room areas of a match day. The meeting with head coach Scott Brown was an experience and opportunity that the group will treasure from the trip.
Horsfall said: “The week was a great mix of activity; the boys committed themselves to all the training and games placed in front of them. We are excited to build on the trip by supporting the boys when they get back to Sydney through additional training opportunities with the brilliant James Boyle and pathways back to the UK to develop even further.
“A number of players have already been identified to be fast tracked into FTIFA UK and Dubai. The planned visit to Sydney in January will be another opportunity to further extend our profile in the country and offer pathways into professional football across the partner clubs.”
Fleetwood Town International Football Academy is always seeking global partnerships with agents, clubs and organisations who are keen to develop pathways for players. To discuss opportunities for Talent ID Clinics and, or player placements please contact Mick Horsfall by emailing Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org.